Skip to main content

Full text of "A history of Persia"

See other formats


LXI        LITERATURE UNDER MONGOLS      233
The historical interview of Hafiz with Tamerlane has
already been recorded. Two or three years later the
poet died and was buried in a garden outside his beloved
Shiraz.
His enemies wished to prevent him from receiving
the burial of a Moslem, and declared that by publicly
drinking wine and praising its use he had become a Kafir
or infidel. After a hot discussion it was agreed that the
question should be decided by lot, A number of couplets
written by the poet were thrown into an urn, and a child,
being instructed to draw, drew forth one which ran :
Fear not to approach the corpse of Hafi2,
Although stained with sin, he will enter heaven.
This completely disconcerted his ill-wishers and he was
buried with all proper rites. Even now, however, at
intervals some turbulent priest attains a temporary
notoriety by defacing the tomb. An instance of this
occurred some years ago when I was spending the
summer at Shiraz.
Hafiz, the greatest of the lyrical poets, a materialist
and a mystic, was a very typical Persian of his day; and at
Shiraz it is easy to understand his love of spending days in
the shady gardens, with wine and women, seated by running
water. In most parts of Persia the influence of Islam
has tended to produce an external aspect which may be
termed puritanical, but at Shiraz one is among an excitable,
laughter-loving people, whom to know is to like.
The chief work of Hafiz is his Diwan, orcc Collection
of Odes," of which I cannot do better than quote a speci-
men, as translated by Cowell:
Hither, hither, O cup-bearer, hand round and give the cup,
For love at first showed easy, but difficulties have come
At the odour of musk which the breeze will unfold from those tresses,
From the curls of those musky ringlets, what blood hath fallen in our
hearts!
Stain thou with wine thy prayer-carpet if the old man. of the tavern
commands thee,
For the traveller is not ignorant of the ways and customs of the inn.
To me in the inn of my beloved, what peace or joy when every
moment